Cover Image: The German Heiress

The German Heiress

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Member Reviews

Oh my goodness! This is not the type of book I usually go for, but I thought why not give something different a try? And I am sooo glad I did! This book pulled me in from the very first sentence.  I was completely hooked on Clara's story and felt intense sympathy for her.  My only dislike was that I wanted more.  I was NOT ready for the book to end how it ended.
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Favorite Quotes:

What a slippery thing conscience could be. It had driven her in two directions. To her father, with all the duties of family and work… And then she had been driven to help the workers, an act that put everything else at risk. One side of her conscience undermining the other. And still she had listened to both. She had thought she could do justice to both.

In Jakob’s experience, you had to watch the Tommies when they were being too nice. You never knew when they’d turn on you, remind you of what a Nazi you’d been, regardless of the truth. The Tommies would call you a lowly foreigner in your own country. 

My Review:

She was called The Iron Fräulein, Clara Falkenberg was a curiously captivating and intriguing study of contrasts.  Her mother was British yet appeared far more fanatic about the Nazi agenda than her opportunistic German father.   Clara was the only daughter and the publicity darling for her wealthy family’s ironworks business, which made several more fortunes during the war using forced labor.  Clara was also the former Reich’s most eligible heiress and graced magazines on both sides of the ocean.  However, in post-war Germany, her notoriety worked against her.

This was my introduction to the powerful and emotive word voodoo of Anika Scott and wow, does this gal have some major skills!  The storylines were smartly crafted and absorbing, intricate, well scaffolded, intriguing, thoughtfully observant, and heart-squeezing while cast with a peculiar assortment of broken, flawed, complex, and often unlikable yet deeply compelling characters.  I felt conflicted yet totally engaged from start to finish.  And all this in a debut novel… the little pea in my brain just exploded.
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Even though this was "another WWII" book, this one was different in that the premise was "what repercussions does a German citizen have after the war for what they did during the war".  The main character in this book tries to make amends  after the war for the part her family played in the war efforts.  I thought the book portrayed the feelings of the main character well - she struggles over her family's part in the world and their secrets.  Really enjoyed this book!
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The writing is so beautiful. The story is filled with suspense and wonder. The characters are richly developed and draws me emotionally into the story. Claire even though caught up with family loyalty still wanted to have a heart of integrity and convicted and in the end hopefully do what is right. Anika Scott has become my new favorite author!
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Absolutely amazing tale and I give this a huge 5 stars! I was drawn in right from page one, just a really intense and deeply moving tale of struggle, courage, bravery, then ultimate triumph and survival! As we sit here quarantined and uncertain during the Coronavirus pandemic, this story and these characters become reality in a way, something to look up to and inspired by, just a truly moving tale! If you are a WWII fan, I would most highly recommend the German Heiress! One of the best reads of 2020!
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I think it had the makings of a best seller BUT feel the back story is lacking.  Maybe a prelude to start it. Or flashbacks of events that led to where we are today in the book.  More information about why Clare was wanted, what happened to her brothers and when was her dad arrested.  A few hints at her father and her best friend knowing each other.  Also an epilogue about Clara, Willy, Jacup. And a hint at why the captain changed his mind and let her go.
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This book caught my attention because the author shares my daughter's name.  I don't see the name often, so it caught my eye.  When I stopped to read the description, it sounded like something that could hold my interest, though I don't read WWII historical fiction as much anymore, as there have just been so many books set in the time period.

I had a bit of trouble connecting with the main characters to start with, to get a grasp of the setting and what was going on.  I don't think it's just an issue with this book, though, it's a problem I've had with the last several WWII-era historical fiction's I've read.  

When I got into the story, it did go quickly, I found myself engrossed in the story and was surprised at how much progress I was making.  Hearing the German side of the story, and feelings the main character had toward the war and her family's actions was engaging.  I don't usually care for the third person POV, but found that it worked well for this book.
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Clara Falkenburg operated her families ironworks business during WWII, making munitions for the Germans.  She believes that she is helping the workers who were forced labor as much as she can but is also keeping her family safe during the war.  Instead her father is arrested as a war criminal and she is wanted as well. She escapes with a false id card and hides in another city.  Eventually though her curiosity about what happened to her best friend leads her back home.  After almost being caught by the British, Clara must carefully try to find out what happened to her while at the same time looking closer at her and her families involvement with the Nazis.  

What made this book so interesting was the perspective was German citizens who survived the war and its aftermath on the German people.  You see how the black market thrived, how people lived in burned out buildings with little to nothing simply because they had no choice and nowhere else to go.  For many, the only crime that they had committed was being Germans.  For others, they thought they were doing things to help those persecuted by the Nazis but then they question if what they did was enough and could they have done more.
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The beginning of the story was very slow and was mostly about getting to know about Clara and her personality. This was when it fell flat for me.

Clara is really an attractive protagonist; she is very human and surprisingly Naive. Which was a bit in contrast with the Iron Fräulein as explained on the synopsis
Then we get to know Jacob, who works in the black market. described as brave and daring.

Getting to know the characters more halfway through the story there was refreshing shift. Even Clara started changing. This was when, she started questioning the morality of what her family has done.
Towards the end of the book, some dark secretes were revealed which made it more interesting
it’s a beautifully written fast paced story, (halfway towards the end). The characters are OK, I was not able to connect with Clara, but I found Jacob’s character more developed than Clara. The setting was atmospheric. I liked reading about Clara’s Childhood home.

Many thanks to the publisher and @NetGalley for the Arc.
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The German Heiress by Anika Scott takes place just after World War II in Germany under British occupation. Centering on the story of Clara Falkenberg, The German Heiress brings in several other stories that all related to Clara's story and specifically to how she is being pursued for what she thinks are considered war crimes. The story follows her as she returns to her home city in attempts to find out what happened to friends and family members while being followed, living in abandoned buildings, and rummaging for what food she could find.

The story is quite engaging and you want to keep reading to find out what happens, particularly to some of the minor characters. Yet, as the story portrays someone who was a German capitalist who was benefiting from the war in many ways, I did not want to like the main character. The German Heiress demonstrates how so many people were caught in the middle or in the proverbial rock and hard place during an impossible situation. It also gives the stark depiction of how hard times were in Germany and all of Europe during the years immediately following the war. A thought provoking book with a bit of a cliff-hanger at the end.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received The German Heiress from Harper Collins Publishing via NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
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I thought this was a really suspenseful and well-written book, and I can see it being made into an incredible movie.  Anika is quite a talented author and makes the reader think about "the other side" of the war, of those Germans caught in the Nazi cross hairs with little choice but to comply.  Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to review this book.
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Fans of The Alice Network, you'll enjoy this one. I liked this hopeful story of post-WWII. Thank you, Netgalley, for this arc.
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eARC kindly provided by NetGalley and Book Club Girl.

Rating - 4.5 stars

As I have said before, I love historical fiction, especially those set in the period surrounding WWII, and this book has rapidly become one of my favourites set in this era.

It focuses on Clara, 'The Iron Fräulein', who has escaped the war, but is now being hunted down, suspected of committing war crimes. Having assumed a new identity, she is desperate to find her best friend and she embarks on a risky journey back to her hometown. Once there, she uncovers secrets and lies that will rewrite her past, as well as her future, whilst still trying to evade the officer so desperate to make her pay for her family's mistakes.

This book was immensely enjoyable; character driven and beautifully researched. I can't wait to read what this author writes next.
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THE GERMAN HEIRESS
BY ANIKA SCOTT

This was an excellent story of historical fiction of post World War II Germany that explores the German people's condition after the war. This novel takes place about eighteen months after the war has ended. The allied forces are occupying Germany. The Americans have gone and the British are hunting down who they consider to be war criminals. Margarete Muller is the name by which Clara Falkenberg is going by in Hamelin. She is proposed by Dr. Blum the small town doctor who says to Margarete, something like he doesn't believe she is who she says she is. He goes on to tell her he thinks she is not really German and that he thinks she is really Jewish. Then he whispers to her that he has secrets also. He repulses her and discloses that during the war he worked in one of the Nazi camps that she knows did horrendous things to innocent people who we all know suffered unspeakably cruelties that are sickening. We all would do anything we could if we could magically undo what 6 million innocents suffered at the hands of Hitler and the Nazi regime. We must never forget the unimaginable horrors that so many innocent people suffered for being in Hitler's twisted mind the wrong ethnicity. I am sickened by how long this 



went on without the rest of the world not getting involved sooner.

One of the things that I love about this novel it explores the protagonist's growth over the course of this story in that she always had a conscious but it evolves even more. This is about one German woman's journey on a quest to find her best friend after the war and she also is simultaneously on an inner journey to realize how her families empire indirectly hurt so many innocent people. Even though this family detested the Nazis they are considered war criminals because they built airplanes and other iron materials. I really liked Clara Falkenberg the youngest child and only daughter of a snobby and emotionally unavailable mother who is British and didn't work in the family business so doesn't get arrested after the war. However, the British Allied forces that are occupying their family mansion and Anne Health is appalled to be living in what she considers squalid conditions. She is luckier than most of the city of Essen to have a roof over her head with electricity and water to bathe and enough food to eat. The majority of the rest of the German people are starving and homeless because of the bombing of the city of Essen during the end of the war. I don't understand why Clara's mother wasn't considered a war criminal since she benefited from being married to Clara's father who ran the family business before asking a young Clara to take over for him. Her father Theodor had the philosophy that he hated the Nazi regime but he felt like it was okay to continue to produce goods that he had done before the war and that the Nazis were only going to be in power during the war and then things would go back to normal when they were not in power. In other words, their iron empire was his families legacy that was a business and how they earned their money and he felt that he had no choice but to keep the business going or to be arrested and shot by the gestapo or sent off to a concentration camp which would include his whole family. I can certainly see his reasoning in not wanting to have his own family shot or sent to their deaths in a concentration camp by running a family business that ran before the Nazis came to power because he saw them as a temporary regime. He really had no choice but to do what he he has always done or face death or take his family and flee Germany and emigrate where?

In Theodor's efforts to save his family from getting shot, arrested and death in a concentration camp or emigrating and being homeless he has a young Clara fill in for him to keep the business going. She becomes known as the Iron Fraulein. Unlike her father she helps the refugees by demanding from Berlin more food and building more housing for the refugees forced into labor with the help of her best friend Elisa and her first love Max. She really had a conscious and tried to protect the refugees who worked for her. She tried her best to help the forced labor done by refugees. She couldn't stand to see anyone suffer or being treated inhumanely. At the end of the war she had to flee because the Allied forces considered her a war criminal for taking her father's place at the helm of the iron production and for manufacturing goods that helped Hitler fight the war. I thought that she was different than her father and she was highly misunderstood and I was routing for her. She is being hunted by a determined British Captain Fenimore and his troops whom despite her false identity papers, he knew he had captured Clara when he stopped the train while she was trying to return home. She tried convincing him that he was mistaken but he was resolute in arresting her. Her father was already arrested and failing in health.

I really don't want to say too much but there is so much more to this novel. I loved Clara's character because she is not a war criminal at all despite the fact that she oversaw an iron factory that manufactured airplanes and military goods that the Nazis used to fight the war. She really helped so many of the refugees who were transported there by the Nazis. She didn't force them to work for her Hitler did. She was really only twenty years old and had so much compassion for them. She helped them to improve the quality of their lives by advocating for them by getting them more food and better housing. She got them medical care and never hurt them by informing on them she even hid them at her home and helped the ones who didn't want to work for her escape. Captain Fenimore is relentless in tracking her down and she is concerned about finding her best friend Elisa who is missing. This is so much more than a cat and mouse game.

I loved this novel for so many reasons that I recommend highly to all readers who love historical fiction to give this one a try. I am really impressed that this is a debut novel. This is one that is already a favorite novel and five star reading experience that I plan to purchase it when it goes on sale in April of this year. I want the physical copy to add to my own personal collection. It is unique in its depiction of the dilemma of the double edge sword that the German citizens had to face with trying to survive a war that they had not wanted. Most of them were kind people who hated Hitler and the Nazis who abhorred anyone that participated in helping Hitler in his cause to wipe out an entire race of innocent people. What he did was evil and we must never forget it. This book was well written and it hooks you in at the beginning and never lets you go. I was sad when it ended. If you love this genre and love a strong female protagonist you will love this book. I will never forget Clara and some of the other characters in this book that I have not mentioned in this review.

Publication Date: April 7, 2020

Thank you to Net Galley, Anika Scott and Harper Collins Publishing for providing me with my ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

#thegermanheiress #anikascott #harpercollinspublishing #netgalley
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World War II is one of my favorite topics when it comes to historical fiction, so I always welcome a novel told from a new perspective. The German Heiress by Anika Scott centers on a young German woman who had been in charge of her family's ironworks empire. As she searches for her dear friend Elisa following the end of the war, she questions whether she had truly done enough to follow her moral compass while still giving the appearance of loyalty to the Nazi regime. Thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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I love historical fiction and a lot of what I read is about World War II, specifically the Holocaust, so I was pleasantly surprised to find "The German Heiress" focusing on life in Germany after their defeat. 

The book revolves around Clara Falkenberg who was once Germany's most recognizable heiress. She earned the nickname "Iron Fräulein" for her part in running her family's ironworks empire during WWII but since the end of the war, she's been living incognito trying to avoid a British officer determined to arrest her for war crimes. When she returns to her hometown in the hopes of finding her best friend, family secrets begin to emerge and Clara is forced to question her own choices during the war as well as those of the people she loved. Is she the criminal the British think she is or did she try to do what she could given the circumstances?

Anika Scott creates characters with many layers and their stories kept me riveted. Besides the Iron Fräulien herself, there's Jakob, an injured former soldier who works on the black market and becomes entangled in Clara's life, Willy, the teenaged son of Clara's best friend whose secrets could be driving him mad, Fenshaw, the British soldier whose interest in finding Clara may be more than what it seems, and Clara's haughty half-British mother, Anne, who must learn to put her fascist leanings behind her if she's going to survive in this new time. You don't often read about the German perspective post-war and I was all in on their journeys. 

"The German Heiress" is a story about self-reflection, acceptance, loyalty, justice, and redemption. My one quibble was that the ending felt a bit rushed but it may have been because I didn't want the story to end. 

Thank you to NetGalley, HarperCollins Publishers and the author for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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What happened after WW2?  The main Nazi collaborators were known and found, but what about those who played less of a front line role?  Could they slip away into the rubbles of Germany?

Clara Falkenberg was once Germany's most eligible heiress, the Nazi's poster child for a new Germany, and the head of her family's large iron works factories.  Post WW2, she is also the most sought after woman in the country, where she is hiding under an assumed name.  

Questions regarding her family's story, the location of her best friend and her young child, and a need to put it al together bring her back to the city she was raised, where she must dodge a pursuing English officer, while befriending a young man searching for the same friend, for different reasons.  

Unlike most popular WW2 fiction, this story takes place after the Allies have won.  As Clara slowly lets out her past story throughout the novel and attempts to reconcile her actions, The German Heiress provides a vast different look into those who survived the war.
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I eat up historical fiction, especially books on WWII. The German Heiress was much different than anything I have previously read. The story is told from a unique perspective - a suspected German female war criminal.  I found the story enjoyable and well paced.  Good character development and a few plot twists to keep you engaged. 

I think you’ll enjoy it, especially the ending.   

Thank you to NetGalley, Anika Scott, and HarpersCollins for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Similar to other WWII novels, this one held my attention throughout. Unlike other WWII novels, it is set through the perspective of a German person instead of Polish person. 

The story was intriguing with enough twists to keep me turning pages. There was also family secrets and a blossoming romance which enhanced the story and helped make this historical fiction novel more unique in its own way. 

4 stars, I’ll be reading other books by this author in the future
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The thing I loved most about this story was the unique perspective it was written in. We are used to reading stories about the victors of the war, rather than the defeated.  We are also used to forming opinions of the enemy based on what we've read and learned from our history books.

This story, mainly seen through the eyes of Clara Falkenberg, the "Iron Maiden", offers a glimpse into the everyday lives of the defeated Germans under the occupation of the Allies.  Many of the Germans are suffering from severe malnutrition, starvation, and poverty.  In addition, the allied forces are on a mission to track down and arrest war criminals, including Clara, for her role in supporting the Nazi cause.

Each character in this story had their fair share of likable and unlikable qualities.  There were times I felt sympathetic towards Clara.  Other times, I truly disliked her for her role during the war.  This was an intense read, with heartwarming moments throughout. This book really reminded of The Huntress. If you enjoyed that one, I'd give this one a shot!

Thank you to Harper Collins/William Morrow for an advanced e-copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
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